MATT JONES stormed home at the 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational to finish just two strokes behind back to back winner Matt Every on Sunday.
Jones started the final round at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando three strokes behind overnight leader Henrik Stenson.
After treading water on the opening nine, the 34 year old Sydney golfer birdied 12 and then had three straight from 15, just as those in front of him were stalling.
In the end Every (66) birdied the last to made it to the clubhouse at 19-under with Stenson (70) falling one short and Jones (68) on 17-under.
On the back nine Jones was chipping in and sinking great putts – just like he did dramatically down the stretch last year to win the Shell Houston Open.
His title defence of that championship comes up in a fortnight and it is great to see him coming into form at the right time.
As for Every, he became just the third golfer to win Palmer’s signature event back to back, joining eight time champion Tiger Woods (who managed the feat five times but didn’t play this year and is apparently still deciding if he’ll be teeing it up at the Masters next month) and Loren Roberts.
“I just found a way today,” said Every, whose game went backward after winning last year. He had to recalibrate his swing and training.
“Today, it was emotional. The first one you worked your whole life for. The second one, I worked like six months.”
World No.1 Rory McIlroy (70) had a reasonable tournament, finishing at 11-under tied for 11th and admitting he still had things to work on ahead of his career grand slam attempt at the Masters.
Adam Scott (72) finished at 6-under tied for 35th and was doing everything well except putting. It seems he’s undecided if he’ll go back to the long putter at Augusta National, his currently scheduled next appearance.
Jason Day (68) was 9-under and T17 and will also be looking to improve his putting stats.
The spotlight will be on the only other Aussie to make the cut in Florida, Steve Bowditch (75, Even & T62), this week when he defends his Valero Texas Open title in San Antonio. The field will be headed by World No. 6 Jordan Spieth and No.9 Dustin Johnson.
Video: Matt Every closes with 66 to win Arnold Palmer Invitational
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